Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].

We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.

The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:

• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.

Also, we have the two below in-house openings:

In-House position at hedge fund in Singapore (3 to 4 years experience)

This position is at a growing and well known hedge fund, founded several years ago, in Singapore, which is looking to hire its first in-house counsel. The new hire will likely come from a top US or UK firm in Singapore or Hong Kong, but they will consider candidates from other markets. The role will be compliance heavy so significant compliance experience, preferably dealing with funds, is a must. Compensation will be at around the current top law firm associate comp level of the new hire.

Pan-Asia Regional Counsel in Hong Kong or Singapore at US based manufacturing company (4 to 7 years experience)

The position will be titled Pan-Asia Regional Counsel and can be based in Hong Kong or Singapore. Work will initially be predominately in China. They are looking ideally for a 5th-7th year associate, but more important than year level is the versatility and emotional intelligence of the attorney in question (high IQ is also a given). This position will involve heavy involvement in various aspects of the business of this $7+ billion revenue publicly traded company, including both operational and strategic issues. From FCPA and employment issues to M&A and purchase/sale contract questions, the successful attorney will be in the middle of many situations and should be able to handle them all with great skill.

Because there is a large component of this company’s business based in China, strong Mandarin ability (as well as perfect or near perfect English) is a must. There will be extensive travel to and from and around China, as well as occasional travel to Southeast Asia (particularly Indonesia and Thailand), but the person in this role will report regularly to management in the US and will need to do so with zero language or cultural barriers. The best sort of candidate would be able to communicate in English or mandarin well regardless of whether he/she is talking to a CEO or a line worker.

Openness to an eventual move to Shanghai, where the company’s China operations are based, would be a big plus. The role in this company could easily lead to a China or Pan-Asia regional counsel role in a much larger organization. Internal promotion is also a good possibility.

As a large public company, this organization has a realistic view of compensation requirements for qualified candidates. Pay is competitive and should not be a negative factor for someone in the 5th-7th year range at a top firm. Hours will be more manageable for sure.